Vaccine certificates no longer needed to enter pubs and mass events, wider service sector reopens to all

From this Thursday, people in the Czech Republic no longer have to provide a vaccine certificate or a certificate of having recovered from Covid-19 in order to enter restaurants, hotels, mass events or various types of services. The measure was cancelled by the government following last week’s ruling by the Supreme Administrative Court.

For several months now, only people who were either vaccinated or had a valid certificate of having recovered from Covid-19 were allowed into pubs, clubs, hotels and various other service providers in the Czech Republic. However, the Supreme Administrative Court ruled against the measure last week.

Photo: Michaela Danelová,  Czech Radio

On Wednesday, the government announced that the obligation will end at midnight, meaning that anyone in the country can now freely make use of service providers such as gyms, hotels and hairdressers, as well as visit restaurants, pubs and clubs.

Police checks will also no longer be made at mass events such as concerts and sports games. From next Friday, their maximum allowed attendance will also be raised from 100 to 500. Meanwhile, venues with over 1,000 seats will be able to host half of their maximum capacity. Friday, February 18, is also the day from which obligatory testing at work is also set to end.

Prime Minister Petr Fiala said at Wednesday’s press briefing that the government is planning to loosen coronavirus measures further in the upcoming weeks.

“The current forecast is that, from March 1, only very few of the currently active measures will still be in place. There will basically just be the obligation to wear respirators. We are making this decision based on the current state of the pandemic and the related infections and hospitalisation numbers.”

The measure banning people who had not been vaccinated nor had a certificate of recovery was implemented by the previous government three months ago. It was supposed to slow down the spread of the epidemic and nudge more people to take the vaccine.

Daniel Prokop | Photo: Elena Horálková,  Czech Radio

However, Sociologist Daniel Prokop, who is part of the long-term research project Život během pandemie (Life during the pandemic), told Czech Radio that surveys of the public show that the measure had not been very effective anyway.

“I don’t think much will change now, at least as far as the restaurants are concerned. Our survey found that the number of unvaccinated people who continued to visit restaurants when this measure was in force was basically the same as before, when they could visit provided that they tested negative.”

Despite the changes, Health Ministry spokesman Ondřej Jakob told Czech Radio that he still recommends people keep the Tečka app installed on their smartphones. Tečka, which provides easy identification of people’s Covid certificates via QR code, will remain important in the future and is also highly useful when traveling abroad, he said.